Making Digital Art with Brazilian Indigenous Peoples - Leeds International Festival

Festival 19


Thursday 3rd - Saturday 12th May

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Digital Natives Photography Exhibition

Header image credit:
Image by Ângela Berlinde — Junior Pintado

Free, drop-in exhibition open daily 10am – 4pm Thursday 3rd May to Saturday 12th May.

Digital Natives is a photography exhibition featuring the work of Portuguese artist Ângela Ferreira, the NGO Thydêwá team, as well as that of some of the indigenous people from Northeastern Brazil who have participated in projects with the NGO over the years. It documents the indigenous peoples’ appropriation of new technologies, following the introduction of the first computers with internet connections in their communities in the early 2000s.


Thydêwá is an NGO made up of indigenous and non-indigenous people and its objective is to encourage people to “take another look” at so-called primitive cultures to see how much we all have in common, as well as how their traditional knowledge can contribute to change in society as a whole. Thydêwá’s photographs demonstrate how digital cameras, smartphones and the internet have made possible the creation of a strong network of indigenous communities who use these new technologies to strengthen their cultures, show the world who they are and defend their rights, as well as express themselves more creatively through digital art projects.

Ângela Ferreira, aka Berlinde, is a Portuguese artist, curator and teacher. She has studied in Portugal, Brazil and the Netherlands, and specialises in digital photography and filmmaking. From 2006-2016 she was the director of the Photofestival Encontros da Imagem in Braga, Portugal, an international festival specialising in fine art photography. Currently she is the artistic advisor of the Photography Museum in Fortaleza, Brazil and assistant teach at the Media Arts and Design School, Portugal.

In 2012 Ângela travelled to the North East of Brazil to work on a digital photography project with some of the indigenous communities that Thydêwá works with. The project was called ‘Retratos Pintados’ (Touched-Up Portraits). Angela took black and white photographs of her subjects – both adults and children – which she then invited them to ‘colour in’ or ‘touch up’ to better represent how they wanted to be seen. She then took a second photograph of the result which is the image that is included in the exhibition. The indigenous person whose portrait she had taken got to keep the original artwork.

This launch event offers a chance to see the exhibition and meet the team behind the project, who are visiting from Brazil and Portugal. On the 29th we will be offering free workshops for children to create their own photo art as a ‘digital native’.

The workshops are open to children from 6 to 16 years of age. They will each last 1 hour and will be delivered in English. All materials are provided. Using the same methodology that Ângela created and tried out with Thydêwá and the Tupinambá community, participants will have the chance to make their own “touched-up portraits” to express their own vision of what being a ‘digital native’ might mean for themselves and for all of us.


Event partners

Thursday 3 May

10am - 4pm